Monthly Archives: December 2014

Night Tree


35541073     nighttree

Students in preschool and TK made these trees based on the book by Night Tree Eve Bunting.

night tree

In the story, a family packs up their truck with various supplies and heads into the woods at night. Once they arrive in the woods, they decorate a tree with fruit, popcorn, nuts and seeds for the animals. We have a lot of fun reading the story and talking about the animals.

cut tree

Students are given a green triangle which they cut with pattern (or regular scissors). The scissors leave a patterned edge when used. Some were an art room donation, others I have had since my kids were young. The students love using them.

They place the trees in order. I tell them it’s like putting together a puzzle. They glue the tree parts onto white paper leaving a little space to represent a popcorn garland.

tree with fruit


They then add oranges and apples. I use the die cut machine to make the fruit. This year, I included stars because last year, they asked for them and it was easier to use the die cut machine than try to cut a bunch of tiny stars from yellow paper.

For the older students, they often draw animals and add color with oil pastel.

35546926  35546969

Snowy Birdhouses


34941467 34941270

I saw an image done by a professional artist of birdhouses in the snow and it was such a fun colorful image, I wanted to do something like it with my kindergarten students.


We started with a guided drawing of one bird house. I showed them ways to add detail and encouraged them to use lots of color.

IMG_4983    IMG_4987

They then could add more houses if they wanted to. They also could add birds and nests. When complete, they added dots of paint to represent snow.

34941234 34941360

Reindeer Portraits


35458924 3554570635458867

I like to accommodate teacher requests when feasible. This is one of those lessons. One of our preschool teachers came and asked if we could do reindeer portraits. She sent me an example of what she wanted and this is what I came up with.

IMG_5107IMG_5109 IMG_5111

Students followed a directed draw with me. The first class painted using tempera paint which was too dark to see the features they had drawn.

With the next class, we used watercolor paint for the brown of the reindeer and tempera for the rest. While these 4 year olds did an amazing job, I think I would have them go back over their lines after the painting dried. It may just be that this lesson is better suited for kindergarten or first grade.


Birch Trees and Winter Birds


35434420   35434635

Grade 2 students used strips of cereal cardboard to create birch trees. First, they dipped the cardboard in paint then ran it up and down the paper in a straight line. They then scraped the paint across the paper using the cardboard.

cardboard and paintscrape

Once the trees were complete, they used scraps of paper to make the birds.

cut papercollage

Most chose the most conspicuous winter bird, the cardinal. Some chose to add other birds as well. 35546551 ava

Mittens and Snowflakes


34851539 34854656 (1) 34854811

This lesson was done with Kindergarten and First Grade. I love printing with different objects and I love simple lessons that look good. I think this achieves both.

Students began by tracing around their hand to create a mitten shape. They cut out the mitten and then decorate with patterns and line. The mitten is then glued onto the bottom part of the paper. We used 4 1/2 x12 black paper.

IMG_4903  IMG_4915


We also read the book Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and talked about snowflakes and symmetry. There is a great website about Wilson Bentley that tells more about him and has images of the snowflakes he photographed.

snowflake book

After they finish the mitten and glue it down, they use white paint to print with. The printing tools were things I grabbed from my cupboard-pattern blocks, forks, bottle caps, applesauce squeeze pouch lids, whatever I saw that might make a good print.

IMG_4916  printing


Snowy Log Cabins


34806509 (1) 34934249 34813167 34812993

I have done this lesson with students from kindergarten to grade three.

I show the students how to make a simple building so that it appears three dimensional.IMG_4878

They add paths, trees, bushes, plants, waterfalls, whatever they want to their scene using oil pastel.IMG_4871IMG_4859

Once the drawing is complete, they use white paint to simulate snow.

IMG_4869 IMG_4876


Animals in Snow


35333113 35333207

This lesson was based on the work of Todd Young. He does these adorable paintings of animals in the snow that he sells on Etsy and other places.


For this lesson, the students used oil pastel to draw the trees, stars, moons and their favorite animal or animals. They used watercolor paint for the sky so that the oil pastel would resist the paint and the stars, moon and trees could pop through.

IMG_5053  IMG_5059

This student asked if he could do an elephant. Of course, that kind of creativity is always welcome.


Winter Sweater and Hat Portraits



The 4th grade team asked for a winter themed lesson to be part of the holiday card their students created. The cards were to accompany the December gifts that the students made for their families.


For this lesson, students looked at images of knit hats and caps as well as sweaters and sweater patterns. We discussed pattern and facial proportion before they began.

IMG_5049   IMG_5045

They first drew in pencil then went over that in permanent marker.

IMG_5039 IMG_5038

We used thinned down tempera paint for the skins tones and watercolor paint for the hats, sweaters and backgrounds.

IMG_5037 IMG_5042

Students were allowed to used white pastel to make snowflakes in the background.

Jun painting




Skiers and Snowboarders


34997980 34998009

34980326   34998028

This idea came from a donation of manila file folders and the need to put something in the glass display cases.

IMG_5005 IMG_5004

Students used the folders to create skiers and snowboarders. They cut out the image then colored. They created either skis or a snow board. They glued the people onto the snow board or skis then folded the legs so the images would stand up.

IMG_5007  IMG_5009